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Finally! Berlin taxis to take plastic

The Local · 5 Jan 2015, 11:02

Published: 05 Jan 2015 11:02 GMT+01:00

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Quite incredible in the capital of Europe's biggest economy in 2015, but a reflection on German's traditional dislike of debt (and shopkeeper's dislike of credit card fees, of course.)

But by the end of this year, one of these bugbears, at least, should come to an end as Berlin joins the 21st century with taxis that take plastic.

"By the end of the year it should be possible to pay in all vehicles with cards," Detlev Fruetel, head of the Berlin-Brandenburg taxi association, told the BZ newspaper. "An agreement is about to be signed."

Some 7,800 taxis currently serve the German capital, with a limited number already taking credit and debit cards - making cashless payments still something of a lottery for tourists.

There have been repeated complaints from business travellers arriving at Tegel airport, or the main train station, without cash, that taxis refuse to take plastic.

In other developments, a so-called VIP driver programme is to be launched. Some 10 percent of drivers will be trained up to not just comply with all traffic and safety regulation, but to offer passengers a particularly "courteous" welcome - something that may prove a winner for any local versed in Berlin's notoriously unfriendly customer-service.

In other good news, the taxi association confirmed that stops at red lights and heavy traffic during journeys would remain free - at least until the end of 2015.

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